Jamaica News, Twenty-seven young engineers, who have returned to the island after successfully completing nine months of training in China, are expressing gratitude for the experience and are eager to contribute to development projects at Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO)/Alpart.
They are among 52 recent university graduates, who left the island in March for training in Bayer Process Technology and Refinery Operations under a programme undertaken by JISCO. All 52 engineers will be employed at JISCO/Alpart in Nain, St. Elizabeth on their return.
University of the West Indies (UWI) electrical engineering graduate, Joseph Keaveny, who was among the participants, told JIS News that the experience was valuable and he is ready to join the JISCO/Alpart team.
“I am looking forward to putting in the hard work to make use of this opportunity given. I was eager to take this chance to see where it takes me,” said the St. Andrew native.
Darrian Bryson of Manchester, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from UWI, said that the nine-month experience was “a fulfilling and eye-opening one.”
“I was very excited to go to China because it was going to be a new experience that entailed meeting new people and learning a different language and it was just that,” he told JIS News.
He said that the group started their programme with three months of language training and concluded with theoretical and practical training in the alumina process for which they received certificates upon completion.
“The information gleaned in China was very good; we could not get that anywhere else. I am really grateful for the experience,” he said.
Public Relations Manager of JISCO/Alpart, Julian Keane, told JIS News that the 52 engineering graduates are from the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of Technology (UTech), Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), and Northern Caribbean University (NCU).
He said that the initiative was borne out of the need for additional engineers to work on several expansion projects underway at JISCO/Alpart and others to come on stream.
“We are going to undertake a number of projects here, which include the construction of a new evaporation unit, expansion of our pier, construction of a new calciner among other projects,” Mr. Keane noted.
“There are a number of things happening here at JISCO/Alpart, which will be beneficial to the company, the communities (in which the company operates) and by extension the country of Jamaica,” he told JIS News.
Mr. Keane said that the graduates were chosen based on their successful completion of civil, electrical, mechanical, industrial and chemical engineering degree programmes.
“We have a number of engineers from all across the island participating in the programme, including from the parishes of Kingston, St. Catherine, Manchester, St. Andrew and Clarendon, so these 52 engineers were selected from a number of areas,” he said.
The course of study covered three core areas: Chinese culture and language, which was facilitated at Jiayuguan City; theoretical alumina process and equipment at the Northeastern University in Yaoming, Shenyang; and an advanced course in process control and operations at the Zhengzhou Alumina Refinery in Siu County, Henan Province.
The remaining 25 engineers, who are still in China completing a course in powerhouse technology and operations, will complete their training by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
JISCO/Alpart, which reopened in 2017, operates in 70 communities in the parishes of St. Elizabeth and Manchester.
JISCO is investing approximately US$6 billion to develop the Jamaica-Gansu Industrial Park and Special Economic Zone, alongside expansion of its mining operations.
The industrial park, which is expected to generate approximately 60,000 jobs, is pivotal to Jamaica’s Logistics Hub Initiative (LHI) development, which is being spearheaded by the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA).